School Can Be…Fun?

Today was my first day of school and it was amazing.  I woke up at 6:30 to get ready and have breakfast at 7.  My host family “sister” drove the other study abroad student and me to the university for classes, which start at 8.  We got a brief orientation about San Jose and the study abroad program in general and then the group of about 20 or 30 people separated into their respective classes.  There are only four people in my class including myself so we all sat at a round table with the teacher and discussed tons of topics in Spanish.  From our favorite food to opinions regarding homosexual marriage, we literally discussed everything and I was shocked and extremely thankful that so many years of hard work in Spanish classes has obviously paid off.

Today’s homework was to write an essay in Spanish so that the teacher would have an idea of where everyone stood with his or her writing capabilities.  It only had to be a page long so it was a breeze.  I had my host mom proof read it and she only found one mistake.  I make more errors in English papers than I do in Spanish papers apparently.  My specific topic was terrorism so I unfortunately had several examples such as 9/11 and the Boston marathon bombing on which I could elaborate.

The other study abroad students are incredibly nice.  Most of them are from UW Madison, although there are some from Arizona and Nebraska.

After school a large group of students went out to lunch at a restaurant called Taos.  Yet again, I had rice, beans, meat, and steamed vegetables.  After not even a full 24 hours here and I’m starting to see a theme.  Needless to say, for dinner tonight I just had rice, beans, and meat.  It’s a good thing I like rice and beans!

Around one in the afternoon every day, it pours.  It’s considered to be winter in Costa Rica right now which basically means rain season.  I’m actually extremely thankful for the rain because it cools things down quite a bit.  I couldn’t imagine if it were this humid and above 90 each day.

A large group of students and I walked to the bank today after lunch to exchange our American dollars for Colons, the currency here.  We walked for a total of at least two hours only to discover that the bank was closed due the fact that the President of China was in town.  Who would’ve guessed?  Barack Obama was here last month as well.  I had no idea Costa Rica was so popular.

One random fact that I feel like I have to share is that the showers here are quite difficult.  I could not for the life of me figure out how to get hot water so my first shower was literally the coldest shower I’ve taken in my entire life.  I’m surprised there wasn’t hail coming out of the showerhead.  I didn’t know water could be that cold.  Also, the shower was the perfect size, for a four foot child.  The shower head is a pipe sticking out of the wall with a plastic shower head at neck level.  At least I’ll have strong legs from squatting so much.

Random fact number two: not all toilets are alike.  Some toilets can’t flush toilet paper.  Luckily the one I use in my host family’s home does, but some of my classmates told me about how they got scolded for flushing toilet paper at their homes.  Used toilet paper goes in the trash can.  Gross.

Final random fact for the day: I live with a dog with one eye.  My host sister is a vet and she found this poor dog when it was only a few months old.  Children had thrown rocks at it and so it lost one of its eyes.  Ironically enough, the dog’s name is Pirata, pirate in Spanish.  My host family also has another dog, with two eyes, and a pet bird.  I was worried because I have allergies but they haven’t been a problem at all.  The animals stay in the back yard, if that’s what one can even call it.  It’s more like 20ft X 20ft tile courtyard behind the house.

My classmates and I are going on a city tour tomorrow after class.  More stories to come!